When a child fails – or when they get poor standardized test results, parents become outraged and blame the teachers for the child’s poor academic performance. But is it totally the teacher’s fault?
No! Not at all!
Yes, there are some teachers that should not be teaching anymore but in most cases, the teacher is not the only blame for your child’s poor academic performance. So who and what can we blame for our broken educational system?
Through my experience and research, I uncovered four major issues.
1. Most teachers are not trained for today’s classroom.
2. The leadership of the schools are selected by the theoretical and philosophical credentials earned from higher education, and no leadership development process that would qualify them to assist the teacher in the classroom.
3. There is a lack of parental involvement.
4. A focus on standardized testing is having negative implications
Problem #1: Teachers Lack the Proper Training for Today’s Classroom
Today’s educational system was designed, conceived and structured for a different age! It was created during the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the Industrial revolution.
Our society has transformed into a highly technological culture. There is global economic uncertainty and political confusion. There is almost a 50% divorce rate and an unprecedented number of single family homes in our society. The discipline of traditional value systems is becoming the ideology of the past. Economic circumstances are requiring two income households. Politics and society have changed the rules regarding discipline and a sense of entitlement has replaced the spirit of competition for our children. These changes have created a different student however the same teachers are showing up to the classroom!
Higher education has failed to change the paradigms and requirements for a teacher going into a classroom today. They continue to focus on theory and philosophy. Higher education needs to be teaching methods to stimulate creativity or divergent learning. Higher Education and all of the credentialed leaders within the system must begin to explore, learn and prepare our teachers for the 21st century classroom and not allow the government with all of its elected leaders to dictate programs like no child left behind or others that perpetuate an outdated system of learning.
Problem #2: There Is a Lack of Accountability for the Classroom
It is ironic that as we continue to hear about the failure of the teachers in the classroom, yet we rarely hear about the principals, vice principals or other administrators that should be leading the teachers and who in the greater part dictate their activities.
In the military you see the officers in front taking responsibility for its system. You will never see the noncommissioned officers or enlisted soldiers taking responsibility for failures in the system. This is a fundamental flaw with our education system. Our teachers are the noncoms and their superiors, who should be accountable for the system, are not being held responsible.
Currently in most school districts these administrative jobs are based on political, philosophical or theoretical credentials and rarely require leadership experience. I was surprised to learn that the process to become a principal of a school was as simple as:
* Have classroom experience
* Obtain a master’s degree
* Complete a principal’s course
* Apply for open positions.
If we agree that higher education is not preparing the teachers for today’s classroom, then it should be the responsibility of the principals and other administrators to ensure that the teachers are equipped for the classroom and that they have the classroom management and basic leadership skills required for leading the classroom.
Problem #3: There Is a Lack of Parental Responsibility
Today, many parents are either too busy, too lazy or they simply don’t care that they don’t get involved in their child’s education. This means educators now have to plan around those parents or continue to face the demise of our educational system.
Problem #4: We Are Focusing on Standardized Testing
Standardized testing is hurting our schools. Instead of teaching our children what they need to succeed – we’re focused on getting them better test scores.
We have also taken away skill trades and almost all of the other career opportunities out of our school systems with a focus on every child is going to college. The reality is every child is not going to college and higher education is not preparing its graduates for the 85-90% of college graduates that will not get a job in there chosen career field.
For my part, the SBI Institute is working to change the paradigm within the educational system by providing leadership training programs for teachers and students so that they are better prepared for real change and the opportunities of the future.
As parents, you need to become more involved in your child’s education. And, you need to push your school system, Board of Education and your government to prepare teachers better for today’s classroom.
Ted Gee, President of Success Based Intervention Institute is working to improve our children’s academic performance by equipping teachers with the leadership skills they need for today’s classroom. For more information on his leadership continuum program, which prepares individuals for 20-30 year careers whether that job is in corporate America, a nonprofit, education, the government or as an entrepreneur, go to: http://www.esdinteractive.com/SBI2/home/sbi-home.php